The mission of the Open Policy Network is to foster the creation, adoption and implementation of open policies and practices that advance the public good by supporting open policy advocates, organizations and policy makers, connecting open policy opportunities with assistance, and sharing open policy information.
In 2011-2012, Creative Commons (CC) and other open organizations were contacted by multiple institutions and governments seeking assistance to develop materials and strategies for open policies. The need for open policy support was amplified at the CC 2011 Global Summit in Warsaw, Poland. CC Affiliates from 35 countries called for a central hub where open policies could be shared and discussed. They were clear: without clearly defined support, open policies are significantly less likely to be introduced and adopted. In October 2012 Creative Commons continued this exploration by convening a meeting of “open” leaders to brainstorm possibilities and challenges in developing resources and services to increase open policies.
As open advocates, organizations and policy makers recognize the potential for open policies to significantly increase the amount and quality of publicly funded education, research, data, and software, there is a pressing need to provide them support so they can successfully create, adopt and implement open policies. Open policies promote open licensing of resources financed through public funding in order to maximize the impact of the investment.
Open Policy = publicly funded resources are openly licensed resources.
If we are going to unleash the power of hundreds of billions of dollars of publicly funded education, research, data, and software, we need broad adoption of open policies. For the purposes of open policies that contribute to the public good, we define policy broadly as legislation, institutional policies, and/or funder mandates.
We have observed that current open policy efforts are decentralized, uncoordinated and insular; there is poor and/or sporadic information sharing. There are at least two major barriers that have prevented broad open policy adoption. (1) There is limited support for open policy advocates, organizations and policy makers who want to create, adopt and implement open policies. (2) Existing policy makers need help in articulating and messaging how open policies can increase the impact of public investments.
The open community needs access to existing open policies, legislation, and action plans for how open policies were created, discussed and passed. Advocates need to know what barriers were encountered and how they were overcome, and because politics and opportunities are local, open advocates may need support customizing an open policy solution and strategy. If we get this simple idea right, we can create a more efficient and sustainable system for publicly funded educational resources, scholarly research, data, and software.
Open policies promote access to, and open licensing of, resources financed through public funding. Open policies can maximize the impact of public investments in science, data, education, libraries, archives, museums, software and other resources through the efficient use and reuse of resources for the public good. The Open Policy Network (OPN) supports the creation, adoption and implementation of open policies around the world. It does this by:
- mapping the open policy space across open sectors;
- identifying open policy gaps and opportunities within and across sectors;
- communicating the social and economic value of open policy;
- networking together those trying to develop open policies with organizations, communities and individuals who have open policy expertise; and
- curating case studies and open policy exemplars for others to use or adapt.
In addition to supporting the creation, adoption and implementation of open policies, it is equally as important to support the updating of existing policy frameworks, so open policies can be effective and long-lasting. Existing policies need to be reviewed and modified as needed to support the implementation of open policies. For example, an open policy that leads to the creation of new open textbooks is less impactful if textbook procurement policies do not allow schools to adopt open textbooks.
Open policy advocates need to present a coordinated case to policymakers that 21st century legal and technical tools can be used to significantly improve the effectiveness of investments in publicly funded resources. The global reach and increasing speed and bandwidth of the Internet; the decreasing cost of hardware and near zero costs of digital storage, copying and distribution; open licensing, and the popularity of mobile devices is making accessibility to digital content universally possible. When policy makers understand the power of open policies, they can avoid the lock-in of stale frameworks and existing financial models, so they can maximize the positive societal impact of publicly funded resources.
- The adoption of open policies can maximize the return on public investments and promote a global commons of resources for innovative reuse.
- Publicly funded resources should be openly licensed resources.
- Open policies should require, as a default, licenses compliant with the Open Definition, with a preference for open licenses that at most require attribution to the author (such as CC BY) for publicly funded content and no rights reserved (such as CC0) for publicly funded data. OPN recognizes there may be limited exceptions to the default.
- The OPN is a open network free for anyone to join as long as they agree to contribute and abide by the mission and guiding principles. The OPN work is aligned with the recommendations of:
- American Library Association
- Association for Learning Technology
- Australian Digital Alliance
- Centrum Cyfrowe
- CLACSO-Latin American Council of Social Sciences
- Commonwealth of Learning
- Creative Commons
- Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand
- Creative Commons United States
- EIFL (Electronic Information for Libraries)
- Foundation for Excellence in Education
- Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU
- Fundación Karisma
- Greek Free/Open Source Software Society
- Harvard Open Access Project (HOAP)
- Lumen Learning
- Knowledge Innovation Centre
- National Copyright Unit, Australia
- New America
- New Media Consortium
- New Media Rights
- OER Africa
- OER Foundation
- Open Access Button
- Open Coalition
- Open Data Discourse
- Open Education Consortium
- Open Knowledge
- Open Textbook Library, University of Minnesota
- Open University of Tanzania
- Saylor Academy
- Sunlight Foundation
- Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
- Textbook Equity
- UNESCO Knowledge Societies Division
- U.S. Student PIRGs
- Wide World Ed
- Wiki Strategies
- Joy Fraser, Athabasca University
- Reme Melero, Consejo Superior de investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC) Spanish National Research Council
- Renata Aquino
- Read and agree to the Guiding Principles and Work Plan;
- Sign up for and participate in the OPN email listserv and share information related to open policies as appropriate;
- Attend monthly strategy / planning conference calls; and
- Send an email to [email protected] with your organization’s name to be added to the Membership list.
The Open Policy Network (OPN) is a coalition of individuals, organizations, and other entities who have mutually agreed to the OPN Membership Terms. The mission of the Open Policy Network is to foster the creation, adoption and implementation of open policies and practices that advance the public good by supporting open policy advocates, organizations and policy makers, connecting open policy opportunities with assistance, and sharing open policy information. OPN’s Activities will be conducted in accordance with the Work Plan.
The OPN is a collaboration and set of coordination actions of its members and not a formal legal entity in any jurisdiction.
Membership in OPN is open to any individual, organization, company, or other entity. One becomes an OPN Member by agreeing to the OPN Membership Terms. Membership is optional and at will, and OPN Members may end their membership at any time. An OPN Member is considered active if it either attends an OPN monthly call or contacts the Chair of the Steering Committee in writing at least once per calendar year. Members who do not meet this criteria will be considered inactive as of January 1 of the following year, but may reactivate at any time. Inactive members will be marked as such on any membership lists, including the OPN website.
General discussions take place on the